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The Metro Atlanta Chamber will make expanding transit, workforce development and heading off laws that might be discriminatory as its top state legislative priorities in 2016.
Those key legislative aims all go toward the chamber’s goals of job growth, improving the state’s business climate and sustaining the region’s quality of life, said outgoing chamber chairman Larry Gellerstedt said during the organization’s annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Atlanta.
This coming election year has already seen heated rhetoric about immigrants, Syrian refugees, a proposal by leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to ban Muslims from entering the country and a continued debate over religious liberty in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage.
Gellerstedt mentioned a proposed religious liberty bill that business leaders helped scuttle last year that critics say could discriminate against gays and lesbians. The chamber has said the bill could hurt Georgia’s reputation and cost jobs.
Gellerstedt said any such bill should have anti-discrimination language.
“To attract people to this city, as great as this city is, we have to have a completely inclusive place where everybody is welcome,” said incoming chamber Chairman and SunTrust executive Jenner Wood. “That benefits not only the citizens of Georgia but it benefits the businesses that need the workers. We won’t tolerate any discrimination. We want to be known as being inclusive.”
Asked about recent debate over Syrian refugees in Georgia and comments by Trump on Muslim travel bans, Gellerstedt said: “Anything that discriminates against any group, we are not going to be for. That will be (our) base and there won’t be waffling on that.”SHARE THIS STORY